Normandale Lake Bandshell

Credit the deepening musicality of Haitian singjay Unicus or the parole-induced clarity (if not sobriety) of old-kid lothario New MC (a.k.a. Big Zach), but this year's Two for One seemed like the album only Kanser fans knew the group had in them. As on the bootleggy collections Table Scraps 3 and Playlist Uno, the new Kanser is drunk on melody with a wide streak of autobiographical reckoning, subtly competitive in its ease: It took wisdom beyond Zach's stoner-mack persona to embrace producer Big Jess and singer Alicia Steele (now practically a full member, along with DJ Gabe Garcia), but maybe it's all he could do to keep up with Unicus's panoramic post-dancehall with the Goodfellas. Two for One splits down the middle like a miniature Minneapolis Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, but the oddest couple in rap shows no sign of divorce, moving on together in More Than Lights, a live-hip-hop funk band that doesn't suck, with their own The Electric Prescription for All Your Funky Illz released last year. All of the above join Heiruspecs, Carnage, Aphrill (featuring Nomi and Toki Wright), Unknown Prophets, and a dozen others for a free, family-friendly daytime hip-hop event at the Normandale Lake Bandshell in Bloomington, celebrating 15 years of Kanser. Where you can't have stardom, you have family. All ages. Free. 2:30 p.m. 84th Street and Chalet Road, Bloomington; 952.563.8877. Peter S. Scholtes

SunDAY 7.18

Lilith Fair

Target Center

When the Lilith Fair debuted in 1997, the all-femme, Sarah McLaughlin co-founded fest was as granola as all get-out; its lineup was frontloaded with Birkenstock bait like Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman, and the Indigo Girls. Finally, the younger sisters of dudes plunking down summer-job ducats for Lollapalooza and the Warped Tour had their own she-scene—for a few years, anyway. Now Lilith is back, and she's a market-savvy realist who recognizes the importance of diversifying genres to cover costs. Which isn't to say there's no granola on the 2010 Lilith bill, but that there are also servings of neo-soul (Jill Scott, Erykah Badu), pop country (Court Yard Hounds), VH1 Classic staples (Go-Go's, Heart, the Bangles), and, um, Rihanna. Rapper Nicki Minaj isn't slated to appear, but you can bet that someone behind the Lilith scenes thought about calling her manager. The Twin Cities date, relocated from Canterbury Park, will feature Sarah McLachlan, Heart, Metric, the Court Yard Hounds, Mary J. Blige, and locals Bella Ruse. All ages. $62-$245. 2 p.m. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.0900.Ray Cummings

SunDAY 7.18

The Lower 48

The Cedar

The Lower 48 are the second case of a rather disturbing trend of top-notch local talent relocating to Portland, Oregon. First came Haley Bonar's defection in July of last year—thankfully only temporary as she's now returned to town and just played the Taste of Minnesota two weeks ago—then the absconding of this talented quartet last fall. The move hit all the harder as it came just weeks after the band released their excellent debut EP, Everywhere to Go, a collection of briskly strummed, wistful folk-pop powered by the close harmonies of co-vocalists Sarah Parson and Ben Braden, who were both still teenagers at the time of the album's release. For now it looks like the Lower 48 are staying put in Portland, but they're thankfully swinging back through their native land for a homecoming gig tonight at the Cedar alongside similarly underage pals in acoustic-rockin' Total Babe and elder statesman by default the Wapsipinicon. $8. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. Rob van Alstyne

monDAY 7.19

Ariel Pink

7th St. Entry

It was inevitable that, eventually, Ariel Rosenburg's pop aesthetic would evolve; the question was always when. Before Today, the L.A.-based songwriter's years-in-the-making answer, simultaneously represents professionalist progression and freak-scene status quo. Rosenburg and his band, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, still rock like a warped mash-up of '70s and '80s AM mores, like a Class of '82 mixtape exhumed from an especially moldy time capsule; the band's default mode remains flailing, unrepentant cheese that's oblivious to contemporary pop standards. Don't get it twisted—Rosenburg's still capable of staging "Butt-House Blondes" as Neanderthal near-porno theater, reveling in the grindhouse disco-prog of "Fright Night," or playing "Hot Body Rub" as hot-buttered mutant funk that makes James Brown seem squeaky clean—but the new tunes are supple, polished, and manicured, sequenced and trimmed to evoke maximum pleasure from an audience primed for bellowed bon mots like "Break me, castrate me, make me gay." With Puro Instinct and Magic Kids. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775.—Ray Cummings

TUESDAY 7.20

Bear in Heaven

Turf Club

There's something dark at the edges of Bear in Heaven's psychedelic rock, a miasma that shades what would otherwise be lush, synth-heavy songs with a sense of inky foreboding. That's not to say that the band traffics in big bursts of noise or loads of distortion (those might actually provide some sort of release from the druggy anxiety that's so central to their sound); they can get loud, but rarely angry. This would be the sound of a trip that borders on bad if it weren't for the bits of euphoria that pierce the darkness in tiny patches, flashes that feel extra large due to the rest of the music's murky strangeness. There are plenty of hooks here, but they're gnarled, twisted into shapes that seem unfamiliar until repeated listens unravel them. For those willing to work to get comfortable with the band's sound, there's a sizable payoff (especially in a live setting), but Bear in Heaven won't be holding your hand through the most twisted stretches. With Twin Sister and Mountain Man. 21+. $10. 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Ian Traas

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